SBD/Issue 145/Sports Media

No More Boom: NFL Analyst John Madden Retires After 30 Years

Madden Retires After 30
Years As NFL Broadcaster
NBC Sports & Olympics Chair Dick Ebersol today announced that NFL analyst and Pro Football HOFer John Madden has decided to retire from broadcasting, effective immediately. Madden said in a statement, "It's time. I'm 73 years old. My 50th wedding anniversary is this fall. ... It's been such a great ride." He added, "The NFL has been my life for more than 40 years, it has been my passion -- it still is. I appreciate all of the people who are and were such an important part of the most enjoyable, most fun anyone could have." Madden worked for all four broadcast networks during his 30 years as an NFL broadcaster, and he has won 16 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Sports Analyst/Personality. The American Sportscasters Association in '85 and '92 named him Sports Personality of the Year (NBC). 

BEHIND THE RETIREMENT: Madden said of his retirement, “It’s kind of on my terms. Everybody’s going to say, ‘Madden retires. What’s wrong?’ There’s nothing wrong with me.” He added, "The thing that made it difficult is not because I’m second-guessing, ‘Is is the right decision,’ but I enjoyed it so damn much.” Madden said he notified Ebersol “about a week ago” about the decision, and they talked about “some other possibilities," including Madden doing "part of a season or something like that” (KCBS-AM, 4/16). Ebersol said he spent all day yesterday with Madden at his California home making "sure he was sure about his decision." He reiterated in a media conference call that Madden's health did not play a role, noting Madden had passed a physical in recent weeks. (THE DAILY).

PRAISE FROM COLLEAGUES: NBC's Al Michaels, who worked with Madden the past seven years, including four at ABC, in a statement said, "There's never been anyone like him and he's been the gold standard for analysts for almost three decades." Michaels: "I'll miss working with John on many levels. As a broadcast partner, I could always count on him -- no one ever came to work more prepared" (NBC). Pat Summerall, who worked with Madden at both CBS and Fox, said he was “shocked” when Madden informed him last night of the decision. Summerall: “I don’t think he had any hobbies other than football and breaking down film" (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 4/16).

ONE OF A KIND: THE SPORTING BLOG's Spencer Hall writes, "Madden sought to do what a good chef does, working with the quality ingredients he had in front of him, and adding garnishes only when possible." Last year, he was "still doing what few other color men could do: communicate effectively and concisely with the viewer in a short burst to show you precisely how a running back popped loose for a 30-yard touchdown" (, 4/16). In DC, Mark Maske: "He was known for his offbeat style and his football sound effects as well as his insight into the nuances of the sport" (, 4/16). MSNBC's Willie Geist said Madden had a "style that made you feel like he's one of you." The retirement is "sad news for sports fans who of a certain age have never known football without John Madden's face, without John Madden's voice." Geist: "Even if you were not a diehard football fan, you know who John Madden is" (MSNBC, 4/16). ESPN’s Chris McKendry said Madden had a “larger than life personality” ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 4/16).

Madden's Videogame Has Made
Billions Of Dollars Since Debut
LOSS TO THE INDUSTRY: ESPN's Josh Elliott said Madden was "arguably the most beloved color man in the medium’s history." Elliott: "The sports television landscape has changed inexorably today" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 4/16). PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio writes, "Sundays and Mondays won’t be the same without John Madden, and in hindsight he capped his career the right way -- by calling one of the most exciting Super Bowls ever" (, 4/16).  CNBC’s Darren Rovell called Madden an "absolute legend in the world of sports broadcasting and the NFL.” Rovell noted Madden will also be remembered for his EA Sports NFL videogame franchise, as it has "made billions and billions of dollars” since debuting in '88 ("Squawk in the Street," CNBC, 4/16).

LEAVING AT THE RIGHT TIME: YAHOO SPORTS' Chris Chase writes, "It won't feel the same without Madden calling games on any network this year ... but it's the right time for Madden to hang up his microphone." Chase: "To go out now is to go out with his legacy preserved" (, 4/16). SPORTS BY BROOKS writes, "At 73, it was a matter of time before he retired and based on his performance the last couple years, he made the right call to step aside gracefully" (, 4/16). Syndicated radio host Jim Rome said, "Announcers are like athletes -- you don't want to stay too long" ("The Jim Rome Show," 4/16).

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